Chances are, you’re not all too familiar with Syrian cuisine. Neither were we, until we picked up a copy of Our Syria, a collection of recipes from recipe developers and food enthusiasts Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi. Now we’re craving all things pomegranate, lemon, parsley and tomatoes, plus spice blends and other seasonings you’ll find yourself using in your everyday repertoire. Try your hand at these fall-friendly pumpkin kibbeh — you’ve never had anything like it! 

In one of the poshest restaurants in an affluent neighborhood of Beirut we met Dzovik, a Syrian Armenian lady from Aleppo. Dzovik has been looking after her disabled husband for more than 15 years. Her son, who was conscripted into the Syrian army before the conflict started, is still serving in the military six years on, because the regime refused to release him at the end of his term of duty, even though he had a wife and child. Intense fighting meant Dzovik left her home with her husband, daughter-in-law and grandson and headed towards the Syrian coast, thinking she would only be away for 2 weeks or so. Those two weeks have now become four years and have taken her on to Beirut, where she waits for her son to be released from the army. She is now responsible for supporting her entire family, which she does by working as a head chef in one of Beirut’s best Armenian restaurants.

Reprinted with permission from Our Syria